Mar 232014

After reading yesterday’s blog where I advised people not to wait to follow their dreams, I got two e-mails from readers telling me that they want to experience the fulltime RV lifestyle but can’t because A) In one case their daughter told them if they do she will disown them and they will never know their grandchildren; and B) In the second case, if they delay retirement and continue working for another five years, until age 70, they will get almost $400 more in Social Security between the two of them.

My response to both of them was that yes, they can do it if they really want to. If the daughter of the first couple issued me an ultimatum like that I’d wave goodbye as I drove away. As I told them, what happens next if they cave in to her demand? If they can’t babysit will she disown them? If they don’t buy her or the kids the appropriate Christmas and birthday gifts are they out in the cold? Because I guarantee you that if you give somebody that selfish control over your life, they are going to abuse it.

To the second couple, is $400 a month really a deal breaker? That’s about $13 a day. Are they willing to trade an additional five years of their lives for $13 a day? I would not trade the joys and adventures we have had out here on the road for a hundred bucks a day! And who says that five years from now they will still be around and be healthy enough to follow their dreams? If they are planning to work anyway, maybe they could workamp part time to offset what they might get in additional Social Security.

Speaking of Social Security, Miss Terry and I both reach a milestone this year, being able to apply for Social Security. Actually, Terry can apply this month and I can in July. Yes, she’s a cradle robber and I’m her boy toy. There is a lot of debate over waiting until age 65 or 70 or whatever, but we’ll take what we can get now, thank you just the same. Not that it’s a huge amount, but what the heck, it will buy a pizza now and then.

Today is the last day to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of The Last Call, a Bill Travis mystery by my friend, bestselling author George Weir. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.


It’s been an emotional few days for us and we have spent most of our time at the hospital. Yesterday our friend Shar was moved into hospice and now we are just doing what we can to be there for her husband Jim.

Thought For The Day – May your life preach more loudly than your lips.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  21 Responses to “You Can If You Want To”

  1. You must be ordering the deluxe pizza with extra toppings.

  2. 100% spot on Nick! I took my SS at 62 and never looked back. Also, we started full-timing 7 years ago and would not trade any of that for more SS. Like Merle Haggard said, “Cut me loose, set me free, somewhere in Montana. Give me all I got comin to me…….”

  3. I vote to retire early. I took mine at 62. And it was more to me than a smaller monthly check. I was ready to do something else other than the 9 to 5 routine. Got my first job at 15 in a grocery store.

  4. My best friend was killed in a car wreck at 59. I had cancer at 60. I survived and decided we never know what life holds for us. Retired after my surgery and have never looked back. Took my SS at 62. Started fulltiming in 06 and love it.

  5. Nick:

    Be aware that since you are still working and earning an income, your social security benefit taken early will be further reduced because of your earnings over a certain limit. Once you turn 66 this will no longer apply.Your benefit at 66 will be adjusted for the earnings reduction. See attached link.

    You probably already know this.

  6. Absolutely !! We sold our home after attending Life on Wheels and began traveling full-time in 2007. In the summer of 2012 while living in our 5th wheel on a lake in central NY, I suffered a cerebellar stroke and almost didn’t make it. Still unable to walk much less drive we are now living in Florida. I was only 60 when this happened. My husband and I have made scrapbooks of our four years on the road. We felt like “recycled teenagers” !!!
    Your lives can change in a minute. Enjoy every minute.

  7. Both of us took SS at 62, we looked at what we get now and waiting for 65, we laugh at what little difference the amount made to continue in a job we no longer enjoyed. Also remember folks this is not a handout or entitlement, but our money we put into the system with a little help from our bosses. If our present government has its way they will try to stop us from getting it. Good luck on that one.

  8. Just my opinion … and based on my numbers … but if you sign up for social security at 62, unless you die unexpectedly, you will draw more money than if you wait until you are 65. As soon as the Chief Auditor in my office figured that out … I filed my claim!!! As a 5 year retiree, that little amount of extra money doesn’t amount to a hill of beans compared to the freedom I now have!!

  9. Having been a pastor for 40 years and been by the bedside of many friends as they passed from this life to the next, I cannot tell you how much your presents at this time means to your friends. I know it troubles you that there is nothing you can do but the two of you are doing more than you could imagine. I have followed your blog for years and one thing I have learned is that you both have big hearts for people. God wrap you up in His arms these next few days.

  10. In our case it was our son who delivered the ultimatum that if we went fulltime or even did the snowbird routine to escape the cold winters he was done with us. It tore our hearts our but guess what? We did it anyway. He stuck to his guns and not spoken to us in over 2 years. But guess what? Our income more than doubled because we are no longer paying his electric bill when it gets turned off or paying for his bounced checks or paying his rent to keep him from being evicted. We are living better and having a ball and if he ever grows up he knows how to reach us.

  11. Both of our daughters tried to guilt us our of our dream to travel and it worked for a while. But then we said nonsense and left anyway. They eventually came around.

  12. You are nuts if you start taking social security now. 1st you don’t need it and 2nd if you have a business they will take whatever you earn out of it. Wait until max retiree age and you will be way better off. Hey, $400 a month time 20 years is a hell of a lot of money to give up!

  13. Nick, you can talk until you are blue in the face and some people just don’t get it or choose not to get it. To us, going fulltime wasn’t about money, it was about not being so stressed out trying to please our bosses demands. The more you give the more “they” are willing to take. We quit our jobs in 2006, too young for retirement, sold the house (top of the market, yippee) and hit the road fulltime. We volunteered as park hosts most of the year for the first few years to make it and continue to volunteer 6 months of each year. Last year one of us took SS at 62, no doubt a good decision. Our decision to quit the “rat race” allowed us to spend 9 months helping the daughter with newborn triplets, be there for DH’s sister & family when she passed at age 47 from cancer. Her children were 21, 19 & 17, we spent 3 summers with them as they matured into adulthood. We were able to see my elderly grumpy Dad twice a year for quality visits of several weeks. He passed away January 1, 2013 and I will never regret the time I spent listening to his gripes. Last month we both had cardiology workups and have no plaque in our arteries. I have no doubt that had we stayed at those stressful jobs we would have medical issues due to stress. None of us know how many days we have and I intend to live mine on the road seeing this great country. There was a program on TV last night about log homes. There was a $5 million dollar log home being built in Searcy, AR. The owner said he had been waiting 32 years to build this home. He was born in 1949 and died suddenly before it was completed. No matter what your dreams or desires are, don’t put them off.

  14. You do realize, don’t you, that while every American bitches about the deficit it is people like you who are the biggest drain on our federal budget. I sit here reading that “I got mine at 62” like it’s some great accomplishment and you got one over on the system. If you can still work and make money but are so greedy as to take Social Security too than you are no better than the welfare bums and illegals aliens you all complain about all the time. Yeah, you paid into the system, I get it. So what? It was created to help those who were too old to work have security at the end of their lives, not so selfish old farts could “have a pizza” or play golf or whatever you do with it. There was a time when the American way was to work and contribute but now it’s all about “gimme gimme!” Just because you reach a certain age does not mean you NEED it. You just WANT it because you are all greedy. I am 64 and I paid into the system all my life but I will NEVER take a penny from Social Security because I don’t need it. If all of you who can still work or are still working would do the same the budget would be balanced overnight. You run a business and drive around the country in a fancy RV so you are obviously not in need. Yet you plan to file for Social Security??? And you call yourself a patriot??? You should be ashamed of yourself!!! You are nothing but a mooch to take money you don’t need!!! Every one of you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!!

  15. I don’t usually speak up but I have to do so in this post. My story goes like this… My husband always wanted to retire at 55. He waited until 57. We have always had some sort of camper and traveled many week ends and a few long trips. After his retirement we toured Louisiana, up, down, side to side & many other places. The year of 2003 one month after his 59th birthday he was diagnosed with Alizheimer’s. From January to April he could no longer drive a vehicle. I had never driven an RV. He longed for the road so badly. I was bound and determined to learn to drive even if I had to go to truck drivers school. At that time we purchased a 31′ class C camper. We did our traveling for as long as we could. He passed away May of 2009.
    After his death it took me 2 years to make a decision as to what to do with the rest of my life. I told myself, self, you know what you want to do so go ahead, put your big girl panties on and go for it. I purchased a class B, went to RV school in Livingston,TX, joined some ladies solo groups and 37,000 miles later I have been any where I have wanted to go and love it. Don’t let someone else dictate your life. IT IS YOUR LIFE. Don’t let others suck the life out of you. Life is much to short and uncertain. O.K. I’m off the soap box now. Gloria

  16. Donald Suchatts…you are kidding right! The biggest drain on our Federal budget is our own Congress…not those of us who worked all our lives and are ready to relax and enjoy our retirement! Which includes the money WE paid into the social security system. In fact, when the government set up the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) to replace the Civil Service system…there are three parts…Thrift savings, which is money we put into a 401K like retirement account, our actual retirement paid by our government employer (USPS for me) AND Social Security!! That is how our retirement is calculated…it takes ALL THREE parts to determine what our retirement will be!

    So don’t tell me we’re suppose to keep working and take what we paid for and earned…GET A LIFE!! Glad you don’t NEED it, but the majority of us do!! I’ll be damned if I’m gonna work till I die…

    Nick….you were spot on with your advice to your readers!

  17. Right on, Nick…we have a friend who is a millionaire….he told hubby several years ago to get on SS as soon as possible and we did….and we are now applying for mine…yes I married an OLDER man… 🙂

  18. Donald, Donald, Donald….the deficit is not caused by people drawing their SS early!! The SS deficit in particular is caused by being a discretionary fund that is tapped into at will by any given administration. The folks who have responded here have paid into the system. My husband, who paid enough quarters into the system, can only draw 40% because he has another retirement. I worked with government funds for 26.5 years and I am speaking from that knowledge. Go ahead and draw your share…you will not rob the system.

  19. I took SS at 62 gave me a year to to get ready to take care of my wife when she got cancer. we both lost our insurance but we made it. We all know how much money we have but don’t know how long we have to spend it.Trust in God and good friends helped us threw it. We are helping friends deal with cancer. We will be hitting the road with the Motorhome after a setback.

  20. Unlike Donald, yes I paid into it so it is my right to take it when I choose. I also did the math and if I were to wait four more years till i’m sixty six it will take me fourteen years to re cope what I lost by not taking my SS at sixty two. So in four months i’m good to go. The added bonus will pay my mortgage and motor home payment. Looks like a win win for me. If Donald is so well off all the better for him whish him the best.

  21. Donald from Disneyland has his point not to take your SS at 62 or it seems at no time you should take this money that WE put in . In fact we are FORCED to put the money in along with our employers into the system. Truth be known if I had the option to NOT put $$ in SS I would like to say the option would be to deposit that money plus the employers $$’s and put into a account that will be self directed . You would be amazed by the amount that you would have a simple interest rates even at todays rates. EVERYBODY say this “Take your SS when you want it or need it. I had a my best friend wait to the age of 70 to take his because was working to that age and then when he got to the time he dropped dead! the only winner , if there was one, is his wife when she took over his amount of SS over hers. On second thought there were no winners including you Donald you must have received your Uncle’s $$. Please send me a copy of your letter to the SS office saying you don’t want yours! .

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